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Kobe Bryant eclipses Dominique Wilkins on the NBA's all-time scoring list

With sweat dripping down his face as he chewed gum profusely, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant seemed oblivious to it all.

During a timeout of what became the Lakers' 108-83 victory Tuesday over the Detroit Pistons, Lakers public address announcer Lawrence Tanter revealed to the Staples Center crowd that Bryant eclipsed Dominique Wilkins for 10th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Yet, Bryant didn't move an inch. He maintained a stoic expression. His eyes didn't dart at all. And he continued chewing gum at a fast rate.

Clearly, Bryant's mind is on other things right now.

"It's one of those things you kind of look at in hindsight when it's all over and said and done," said Bryant, whose 17 points puts him with 26,671 career points. "You're so concerned with winning a championship that you don't think about it too much."

But don't think for a second this doesn't anything to Bryant, though he argued he would've gone to college instead of jumping to the NBA in 1996 from Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia had he been consumed with setting individual records. With his memory of watching Wilkins' highlight reel dunks growing up and even attempting to replicating them in his backyard on a "six foot hoop," Bryant illustrates his student-of-the-game mentality. "I still in my prime couldn't do things Dominique was doing," said Bryant, who surpassed Wilkins' mark after driving in for a layup with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter. "That's just unbelievable stuff."

It's nothing more unbelievable than what Bryant's accomplishing, with Lakers Coach Phil Jackson describing the milestone as "another credit and another notch in his belt so to speak in his long, storied career." Longtime teammate Derek Fisher remarked, "It's humbling to think this is a guy that I've spent most of my career playing alongside of and he deserves everything he gets in terms of accomplishments. The scary part about it is he's not done. He's going to close the gap pretty good between 1 and 10 at a pretty fast rate in the next couple of years."

Next up on the list includes Oscar Robertson, whom Bryant trails by 39 points and should surpass that mark Friday when the Lakers host the New Orleans Hornets or maybe even today when the Lakers visit the Phoenix Suns. Assuming Bryant maintains his 25.4 points per game average and plays the final 47 games of the regular season, he will finish 2010-11 with 27,863 points. That would put him him sixth all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Shaquille O'Neal (28,500 and counting).

But days before Bryant surpassed him as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, Jerry West predicted Bryant would finish even higher, scoring at least 30,000 points.

"Health is an issue and then age," West said at the time. There's one opponent you can't defeat and that's age. He will try that, by the way."

For now, however, Bryant's managing to do so, even if his on-court language shows he's currently not thinking about it.

--Mark Medina

Comments () | Archives (25)

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MM, I'm glad to see you take note of this amazing accomplishment of Kobe's. While I understand why Phil, the team, and Kobe himself are not making avery big deal about this, as Joe Biden said so brilliantly...this is a BIG, F***ING DEAL! Dominique Wilkins?! Oscar Robertson?! Are you kidding me?

Man, we are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO lucky to have had the privilege to have seen Kobe make it to this point. And even luckier to be able to see where he's ultimately going to take it.


I thought Phil had a really nice little speech about the Big O's accomplishments post game last night, how they relate to Kobe's, and how one does not overshadow the other: they are both amazing players in different contexts. It was spoken with a true love of the game by someone who's obviously thought about it (and had been around all of those guys in various phases of his career).

Amazing. Simply amazing. And he's not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Is there anything better than being able to witness this man's brilliant career, night in and night out, as Laker fans? I think not.

Congratulations Kobe Bean Bryant. You deserve all the accolades that can be heaped upon you.

We thank you.

Congrats to Kobe on reaching the top 10.

I finally feel good about where we are. Finally, the Lakers are reported on as a soap opera in the national press (well, Yahoo Sports anyway). All is right in the Lakers' world.

In the tradition of Magic vs. Westhead. Magic vs. Kareem. The disgruntled Cedric Ceballos disappearing. Shaq vs. Kobe. vs. Del Harris. Kobe vs. Phil. Maloned vs. Kobe's wife. Phil vs. Sacramento. Rick Fox vs. Doug Christie. Kobe vs. the World. How does my *** taste? Kobe vs. Bynum. Artest "tripping over Christmas presents."

This is how it is supposed to be. conflict. Controversy. Desperate Housewives in purple and gold. All is right in the world. Relax fans. Order the 2011 championship banner.

This is Lakers' basketball.

Oops, and Wilkins' accomplishments as well.

I love Kobe Bryant...and he has a couple more blings left in him...

A great note: AB looked and moved very well...He is getting more aggressive...6 for 6 is also a welcome sight...

It's all just the regular season...we are not halfway there yet...

No worries...just sit back and let it unfold...

Congrats to Kobe. He definitely deserves all the props he's getting. However, in my book he just moved into 12th place when he passed Nique. Sorry but I can't throw out Dr. J's 11,000+ or Dan Issel's 13,000+ ABA points.

Dr. J, Ice Man, David Thompson, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, Dan Issel, Bobby Jones, George McGinnis...just to mention a few...all deserve better. If the 3pt shot and dunk contest, Spurs, Pacers, Nuggets and Nets were good enough for the NBA, then the least they could do is to include their stats.

@63 Footer - I agree that Phil's did a good thing in making sure people understand this doesn't detract from what the Big O or Nique accomplished.

@Tom D - you're right conflict & controversy seemed to be a staple of Laker championship bball. I'm all for it as long as we have a happy ending this year on Wisteria Lane.

Despite the first half foul problems, I thought Drew’s offensive effort last night was his most beastly performance so far this year. Stu Lantz hit the nail on head with his comments about how Drew was combining multiple moves to attack the basket ferociously. I loved how Drew used his footwork to get into position to dunk the ball several times. And while the Pistons did a good job of beating our perimeter defenders to get into the paint, I loved the fact that Drew challenged every single player who penetrated the lane. While he only blocked one shot, there were countless instances where his challenges caused driving players to alter their shots. If Drew can stay healthy, there is no team that will be able to handle him in a 7-game series.


@Laker Tom - Drew looked good last night, but let's remember he had an undersized and old Ben Wallace guarding him :-)

Pau also dominated the Pistons the first game...even without Drew.

that's right LakerTom
Bynum is playing with better footwork and balance...somewhere Perkins is rehabbing even harder. Bring on Shaq and the Celtics Jan 30th!

KobeMVP888, in case you haven't noticed, lately we've been seeing a kinder, gentler TJ Simers.

Posted by: CornerJ | January 05, 2011 at 08:39 AM

Candidly, I haven't noticed because I rarely read him. Obviously, I did for a long time until my disgust ran its course, but I'll read an occasional article he writes about the Lakers. I even skimmed this article.

LRob - I agree it was only the Pistons, but it seems that this time round Drew appears to have a more "mature" (whatever that means) attitude: rebounds and D seem to take a priority and he seems to have confidence that his offensive game will be there. It's like being hurt in the Finals and still being able to contribute opened up his mind to "doing what's necessary" as opposed to "gettin' mine."

All guesses on my part, but if it keeps up, I think he'll keep growing his game.

Congratulations Kobe! Getting on the top 10 list of all time anything is pretty cool. Getting on the top ten list of scorers in the history of the NBA is an incredible moment. I hope you are not underwhelmed by the attention it has received. We have seen you accomplish so much that we are a little shell-shocked by it. You da man!

The team was great last night. I am very happy that everyone got a chance to play and that the process of washing off the stink of the last few games has begun.

Effort [check]+Defense [check]+Team Play [check]+Team Spirit [check]+Focus [check]+Aggressiveness [check]+Winning Streak [started]=”Threepeat”

I am proud of Kobe for playing great “all around” ball and for not getting frustrated with early misses. We got it into the “Bigs” which is what we need to do to succeed.

I am getting excited about Drew. He is really becoming a man. He is getting his explosiveness back and seems calmer and more sure of himself. I can’t wait until he is 100%. The trio of Pau, Drew, and Lamar is a force of nature in the paint as long as we continue to exploit it. The rest of the NBA should be afraid – very afraid… ;-)

Artest is obviously in a funk, but we have PJ. This is where the rubber meets the road – why he gets the big bucks. I can’t think of another person on the planet better qualified to deal with it. I think it will be fine.

If we bring the “D" every night, it will be a glorious year.

PJ is doing all the right things and it is very cool to see. It is a simple choice – play your ass off in the game or he will play your ass off in practice… ;-)

Looking for motivation? How is this for incentive - March 10th in Miami. Let's get ready to rumble! You know what they say - payback is a bitch...

What about San Antonio? They will be back on Feb. 3rd and there will be some "esplainin" to do... ;-)

I am a Lakerholic.


If Andrew can continue to get healthier and STAY healthy throughout the playoffs, there is no reason why we shouldn't see him at a dominant level as we have never seen him before. It's that damn "if" that gets in the way too often. He WILL be a difference maker should that "if" not happen.

I have watched Kobe Bryant his whole career...

From that arrogant HS the dominant champion he is today...

The one constant variable...Kobe is FEARLESS...and the Black Mamba is a deadly assassin KILLER...

How fortunate to be able to watch his whole career unfold...From raw the best player...No need to even list his accolades...

The only one that is important...5 RINGS...with more coming...

Kobe Bean Bryant...Thanks for the memories...

From Tim Kawakami:

After bypassing entreaties from Michigan, his alma mater, Harbaugh apparently has let the 49ers know that they are probably his first choice.

The 49ers absolutely want him, and a high-ranking NFL source said Tuesday that team president Jed York remains more than willing to pay a premium price to get him.

Harbaugh would like to stay on the West Coast and also would prefer to be in the NFC, away from potential yearly clashes with his brother, John, coach of the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens.

Harbaugh cherishes the relationship he cultivated at Stanford with Bill Walsh, and loves the idea of following Walsh's footsteps from Stanford to the 49ers.

@63 Footer - I agree Drew's improving in all the areas you mentioned. I think its part of the natural maturation process.

I was just poking a little fun at LT's "Beastly" comment :-)

Congrats to Kobe on reaching the top 10.

Posted by: Tom Daniels | January 05, 2011 at 09:06 AM

So now there are only 2 guards ahead of Kobe on the all-time scoring list: The Big O, who Kobe will probably surpass on Friday and, of course, His Airness. And let's be honest here, Kobe does a helluva lot more than score as evidenced by, for one small example, his 8 all-NBA first team defense awards.

So your simple comment: "Congrats to Kobe on reaching the top 10" made me re-visit Michael Jordan's assessment of his successor to the throne:

"I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished," Jordan said. "Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the top 10."

By the time he is finished? Top 10 guards? I ranted about this before, so I won't do it again. At least Kobe takes a much humbler approach to his individual accomplishments than Michael Jordan ever did. It would be nice if His Airness would now amend his comments and issue a public apology to Kobe even if he said this in jest.

After bypassing entreaties from Michigan, his alma mater, Harbaugh apparently has let the 49ers know that they are probably his first choice.

Posted by: LakerTom | January 05, 2011 at 10:08 AM
I'm hearing the same in U-M country. They're not giving up without a fight, but seemed resigned to the fact that Brady Hoke may be their best shot. Of course, being the arrogant school that they are...they're spinning it that Harbaugh probably won't come because they're not close to matching the NFL money.

From that arrogant HS the dominant champion he is today...

Posted by: LEWSTRS | January 05, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Arrogant? No doubt. But respectful, you better believe it! Here's Kobe's interview with Chick Hearn after his first NBA start:

I can not wait until next year when he passes Shaq while he is still playing. When Shaq comes to the Staples Center all fans can chant Shaq tell me how my " " tastes - Now that will be priceless, I think even Shaq will get a chuckle out of that LOL

Sounds more legendary to hear that Kobe is in the top 10 of all-time NBA scorers.

I know he will end up top 6th by end of this year, but hopefully he will surpass mj for 3rd within a couple of years but that is assuming 20+ points per game and playoffs.

I dont think he'll reach Karl Malone/Kareem, but that would be just fine to see the trifecta of NBA scoring:

Kobe Bryant

that is legendary.

This is actually a double edged sword. I love Kobe, but I don't believe for a minute that he didn't know he had an excellent opportunity to pass Wilkins in last night's game. Kobe really needs to take LESS shots, pass the ball into Gasol & Bynum, forget about this historical race and better shots will be available to him. No way in hell Kobe is suppose to take 19 shots while Gasol & Bynum, both shoot well over .500 get less than 12.

Share the pill Kobe.



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